What happens to Sacha and Jewel? (Or Sophia? Or Nina and Spencer?) What happens after the end of the book?!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Getting emails from people who have read my novels (and enjoyed them!) is basically the greatest thing ever (I get lots of emails from Spanish readers, which is just incredibly cool). In lots of these emails people want to know what happens after the book ends! The thing people most want to know is about Girl Saves Boy: does Sacha die?

So I thought I would answer this, in case you are interested: what happens after the end of Girl Saves Boy? And All This Could End?

The short answer is: whatever you like.

The much, much longer answer is: This is the thing that I think is absolutely splendid about fiction: there is no absolute truth. There is only your interpretation of the story. For instance, none of the events of the Harry Potter series actually occur! It's all Ron Weasley's coma dream. I read it and I interpret it as I please and thus it is true. (J.K. Rowling would probably disagree, though.)

So, maybe you don't read novels expecting every narrator to be unreliable, and making up conspiracy theories the whole time: that's okay! That's probably how you're supposed to read books! But when a story ends everything is not always neatly tied up. I infinitely prefer stories with open endings, and the ability to interpret and resolve a story for yourself. Much better than an overly cutesy and cheerful ending (though I just explain those away as optimistic coma dreams). While I am a fan of melodrama and a bit of absurdity, I do like my stories to represent real life to a certain degree, and I think an overly resolved story is annoying. There are no conclusive endings in reality. We are in the middle of many, many stories, always.

What I think people really want me to say is: Sacha miraculously recovers! He and Jewel get married and live happily ever after! Sophia goes to prison! (Potentially this turns into a wacky spin-off series.) Nina becomes a vet and saves all the animals! Mr Carr and Sacha's dad skip off into a sunset!

But I'm not going to say that, because I can think of a billion different ways the stories of these characters might continue, and they're all equally possible. If I was dedicated to a very particular path - if I knew in my story Sacha was going to die - then I would've written that.

(I don't really have a problem with killing off characters, but it never seems to happen in the end. Nina died in the original ending of All This Could End, but that didn't quite fit, mainly because ATCE is a lot more comedy than tragedy.)

So: I am absolutely delighted if you are invested enough in my novels and my characters to care about or wonder what happens to them after the end of the book. But they don't have a set path, in my mind. Their future is not yet defined, and there are unlimited possibilities. (Just like real people!) If you read Girl Saves Boy and can't stand the thought of Sacha dying, he doesn't have to! If you read All This Could End and wonder whatever becomes of Spencer, you can decide based on what you know of his character! I absolutely love it when people email me telling me what they think happens after the story ends (and obviously I think fan fiction is one of the greatest things ever).

If you wonder about what happens to that lobster in Girl Saves Boy (does it live? does it die? what's it like being in the ocean after a lifetime in a tank? does it have an anxiety attack?), or what happens when Sacha returns those gnomes to people's gardens (did they notice the gnomes were gone? maybe they sincerely cared about their gnome, and were incredibly distraught to discover it gone?) you can decide. Whether Nina and Tom grow up and revert to crime is entirely up to you. There are lots of little stories there where you can fill-in-the-blanks, if you so wish. It's like magic, basically. No, seriously, how great are stories?
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